MEDIA STATEMENT: Feb. 4, 2022
Official Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema Statement
Orchestra Partners/Alabama Power Company Alamo Drafthouse Announcement
Please attribute the following to Chloe Cook, Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema Executive Director.
“For the last 25 years, Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema – through its flagship Sidewalk Film Festival – has been at the forefront of leading downtown redevelopment efforts. We take great pride in the work we have done to encourage so many to live, work and play in downtown Birmingham. As a committed community partner, we were eagerly anticipating the redevelopment of Powell Steam Plant. When we learned that Alabama Power and Orchestra Partners would bring a national chain movie theater within five blocks from our front door, we could not help but be concerned about how this would affect the sustainability of our new cinema. It is very rare to find two modern movie theaters in such close proximity – this model has not proven to work in the past, and it is most often the smaller theater that is unable to sustain itself in the marketplace.
When we learned of these plans, we initiated conversations with the leadership of the project to express our concerns and ask that they reconsider the anchor tenant. When this initial request could not be fulfilled, we began looking for ways we could potentially co-exist to everyone’s mutual benefit. As a result, Alabama Power and Orchestra Partners have committed to support Sidewalk in the years ahead through a meaningful Festival sponsorship, the hosting of an annual fundraising event and the exploration of a possible sales tax revenue program that would not only benefit Sidewalk, but also the greater theater district.
Sidewalk has been committed to the redevelopment and reinvigoration of Birmingham’s historic theater district for more than two decades. Additionally, we are a small, not-for-profit arts organization that hosts a world-class film festival and year-round educational classes, networking events and other community-focused programming to enhance the lives of those around us. As such, we hope that Alabama Power Company, Orchestra Partners and the greater Birmingham community will continue to stand with Sidewalk to ensure the long-time viability of our important cultural institution.”